Kategoriarkiv: History

The long road to democracy and freedom

In view of current unending events in Ukraine’s eastern regions, I thought it would be fun to tell about one of the Ukrainian leaders, who happened to be the author of the first modern European Constitution. Pylyp Orlyk was a Hetman-in-exhile who devoted his life to establishing an independent Ukrainian-Zaporozhian state. He sided with the Swedish king Karl XII in order to free Ukraine from the constant attacks of its Eastern neighbor, Muscovy.

The Agreements and Constitutions of Laws and Freedoms of the Zaporizian Host  was the first of its kind as it clearly separated the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power in a state. In addition to delineating the clear limits on the executive powers of a Hetman (Head of state) this Constitution also established a democratically elected Cossack parliament called the General Council.

File:Pylyp-orlyk-constitution-1710.jpg

Peace and equal right to all!

In the heart of Europe

Did you know that Ukraine is the largest country in Europe? It is actually larger than France and Sweden! (And no, Russia is not a European country, perhaps slightly geographically, but no). Ukrainian capital is Kyiv (the correct official spelling), but many still only know it as Kiev (I know, people need time to learn, it’s not like it’s been 23 years since the spelling was corrected, oh, wait…)

The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian (no, it’s not the same as Russian, sorry to disappoint, but it is beautiful, melodious and incredibly hard to learn, just ask any of the Russian-speakers born and raised in Ukraine…)

Kyiv is an ancient city with a very exciting history stretching for almost 1600 years. It is lusciously green, romantic and divided in two by the fourth longest river in Europe, Dnipro (aka Dnieper). It is said to have been established by three handsome guys and their beautiful sister from Scandinavia, and I can really see why they chose this spot!

I will round off for now and I promise to keep my anti-Russian rants to a minimum (although who can blame me, really?)

Cheers, may peace be with you!